The “Disease of Kings”
We all know that western diets, which are notoriously low in vegetables and high in red meat, cause numerous adverse health outcomes such as diabetes and obesity. However, our diets also play a role in another condition, which causes extreme episodes of joint pain—gout.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that most commonly affects the big toe and can be a source of chronic pain. It develops due to deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints, which are sharp and, when jostled, cause excruciating pain.
The body naturally creates uric acid from the breakdown of purines. Purines are found in foods such as red meat, alcohol, and foods containing fructose. It is only when the body produces more uric acid than it excretes, and levels become too high, that gout occurs. In 90% of cases, gout occurs when the kidneys cannot excrete uric acid adequately.
Gout used to be known as the “disease of kings,” as kings were known for indulging in rich foods and drink. Today, gout is much more common among the general public, due to our “standard American diets.”
CBD Oil for Gout: Just the Facts
Gout is a painful condition that most often affects the joint at the base of the big toe, but can affect any of the body’s joints. Many people are turning to CBD oil to treat their gout pain due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Although there are few studies exploring the effectiveness of using CBD oil for gout pain relief, research shows CBD products are useful in relieving pain related to other arthritic conditions. Therefore, using CBD oil for gout makes sense.
Risk Factors for Gout Attacks
- Diets high in purines (red meat, fructose, beer)
- Being male
- Some medications, such as diuretics for high blood pressure
- Family history of gout
- Kidney disease
- Recent surgery
- Recent trauma to a joint
Gout typically begins with an acute attack of severe pain in a joint, lasting 12 hours or so. After the acute gout flare-up, there is often still severe pain in the joint, which can last for several days or even a couple weeks. In addition, a person often feels tired, may have a fever, and may experience high blood pressure from the level of pain.
- Most common in the joint at the base of the big toe
- Red, swollen, warm joint
- Severe pain that is worse with movement
- High fever
Conventional Treatment of Gout
In most cases, medications for pain management are first-line therapy for an acute attack. These medications include pain relievers such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen. In some cases, corticosteroids are also prescribed to help with the inflammation.
In most people, gout can be avoided by simple lifestyle changes. Helpful dietary changes include decreasing the intake of high purine foods (red meat, alcohol, and some types of seafood) and increasing the intake of antioxidant-rich foods such as vegetables. Also, drinking lots of water helps the kidneys flush out accumulated uric acid. Limiting alcohol and drinks that are sweetened with fructose is beneficial, as is exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
Some people are more prone to gout, especially those who have a history of gout attacks, a genetic predisposition, or an underlying health issue such as kidney disease. In these cases, long-term medications that decrease the levels of uric acid in the blood, like Allopurinol, may be necessary. However, it is recommended to always consult with your doctor.
CBD and Gout
Many people report only some relief of their gout pain with painkillers. In addition, these drugs have several side effects, such as increasing the risk of gastric ulcers or perforation in the gut. For these reasons, people are turning to CBD oil for gout pain, for its cannabinoids content—which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving abilities.
How to Use CBD Oil for Gout
Cannabis’s use as an analgesic for pain in dates back to 2800 B.C. CBD, which is derived from the Cannabis Sativa (or industrial hemp) plant, is emerging as a go-to for many types of pain conditions. CBD products do not contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. You can ingest CBD oil orally or use it through topical application for joint pain.
Endocannabinoid System and Pain
The endocannabinoid system is a signaling system within the nervous system, and it modulates the levels of pain we feel. Cannabinoids, including the cannabidiol that’s found in CBD products, stimulate cannabinoid receptors (cb2 receptors) within the endocannabinoid system. As a result, this can help reduce the perception of pain signals in the body. It can also reduce inflammation.
Inflammation and Pain
Research has shown that CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, CBD is effective at reducing inflammatory chemicals, such as TNF and IL-12, in the joints. Furthermore, it has also been shown to modulate the immune system, which is responsible for creating inflammation.
Inflammation is a major component of pain, especially in gout. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that using CBD oil for gout pain may be helpful.
What Research Has Been Done?
Currently, there are no studies on the efficacy of CBD oil and pain relief of gout in humans. However, there is good evidence to support CBD use in the treatment of other forms of arthritis. Multiple studies have shown that CBD is an effective treatment for reducing pain in other forms of arthritis—so it only makes sense that using CBD oil for gout (and the pain related to it) could be beneficial.
A recent study assessed whether a whole-plant medicine made from the cannabis plant (Sativex) is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis pain. It found that there were significant improvements in pain on movement and pain at rest, as well as the quality of sleep of the study participants. Keep in mind that this study used a cannabis whole-plant medicine, which contains more active constituents than just CBD alone, including THC.
Animal studies have shown that topical application of CBD oil is effective in reducing pain levels. This study also found that CBD oil did work as an anti-inflammatory and reported a reduction in the number of inflammatory mediators in the affected joints.
What the Research Says
Given that gout causes inflammation, which is responsible for some of gout’s symptoms, CBD is a promising treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties and stimulation of the endocannabinoid system.
To date, there have not been any research studies on using CBD for gout, specifically. However, research into CBD’s effects on other types of arthritis pain has shown it to be an effective treatment, so its efficacy in using it for gout is promising.
Research supports that whole-plant cannabis supplements, which contain CBD, help manage joint pain in other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Animal studies show that topical CBD is effective for reducing joint pain and inflammation.
Our Thoughts On Using CBD Oil for Gout Pain
If you suffer from gout and are considering trying CBD oil for gout pain relief, it is recommended that you always speak with your physician first. And it should be noted that CBD oil alone will not prevent gout flare-ups from occurring, especially in those with kidney disease or other predisposing factors. This is because gout is due to an excessive build-up of uric acid in the blood, which is then converted into painful urate crystals.
CBD oil and other CBD products are not regulated by the United States FDA. Therefore, make sure you purchase any CBD products through a reputable source with third-party testing. This helps ensure both the quality and safety of the products.
Gout is a type of arthritis that causes extremely painful inflammation in the joints, which can be disabling. There are certain dietary choices, such as the consumption of large amounts of red meat or fructose, which may lead to developing gout. Also, genetics, kidney health, and other medical conditions are a factor.
Because many medications to treat gout come with side effects and risks, people are turning to alternative approaches like CBD oil to manage their gout symptoms.
Research indicates that the cannabinoids in CBD are a potent anti-inflammatory and effectively relieve pain related to rheumatoid arthritis, another type of arthritis. Although there has not been much research conducted regarding using CBD oil for gout directly, its use as a treatment for gout pain (both orally and topically) is promising and warrants further investigation.
Always consult your physician before beginning any new medications or supplements, including CBD products.